Copyright WHR 2006

By Christy Howard Parsons

According to Lonnie Messick and the National Horse Show Commission, they inspected 3241 horses at the 2006 Celebration, down 208 horses from the 2005 Celebration.

Overall the NHSC Designated Qualified Persons (DQPs) wrote 249 violations in 2006 compared to 193 in 2005. This represents a 29% increase in the total number of violations written.

The majority of violations written were for pre and post show scar rule violations. In 2006 there were a total of 139 scar rule violations, 112 preshow and 27 post show. In 2005 there were a total of 86 scar rule violations, 67 preshow and 19 post show.

The interpretation of the scar rule has been the subject of much of the controversy surrounding the inspection area during the last several weeks. This year's scar rule violations were 62% higher than 2005 violations.

Other violations in 2006 include 10 bilateral sore (19 in 2005), 18 foreign substances, 10 unacceptable horses, 10 shoeing violations, and assorted other miscellaneous violations.

There were also a larger number of conflict resolution cases, inspections where the USDA Veterinary Medical Officers disagree with the NHSC DQPs determination. In 2006 there were 21 cases referred to conflict resolution, while in 2005 there were only 7.

According to Messick, of the eight World Grand Champion stake horses which were presented for inspection on the final Saturday night, four were turned down by the DQPs on scar rule violations. One entry was turned down by the USDA as bilateral sore and that ticket is in conflict resolution.

On the first Friday night of the show, the DQPs had inspected 81 horses when the horse show was called off for the night by Celebration officials. Two classes had been completed and some additional horses had already been checked for the upcoming classes. Of the 81 horses inspected by the DQPs, 11 violations were written.

Overall the 2006 Celebration had a 92.3% rate of compliance compared to a 2005 rate of compliance of 94.4%.

The largest issue of debate remains the interpretation of the scar rule. An upcoming scar rule clinic scheduled to take place in Tennessee, however, has been cancelled, according to the USDA's Dr. Todd Behre.

The sixth of six listening sessions for the industry presented by the USDA will be held Monday, September 11, in Chattanooga, Tenn.